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Gloomy Winter’s Noo Awa

[ Roud V703 ; Bodleian Roud V703 ; Mudcat 44539 ; Robert Tannahill (1808)]

The Tannahill Weavers sang Gloomy Winter’s Noo Awa’ in 1978 on their Plant Life album The Old Woman’s Dance. They noted:

We always like to include a Robert Tannahill song and this is certainly on of his most beautiful, having captured, in his words and melody, the romantic feeling of spring when a young man’s heart goes up and down like a Venetian blind.

Note dripping icicle noises and delicately coughing blackbirds.

Chantan (Corrina Hewat, Elspeth Cowie and Christine Kydd) sang Gloomy Winter’s Noo Awa’ in 1998 on their Culburnie album Primary Colours, and Shine (Alyth McCormack, Corrina Hewat and Mary Macmaster) sang it in 2014 on their CD Sugarcane. Chantan noted:

A love song by the poet Robert Tannahill, a contemporary of Burns. From the singing of Dougie MacLean.

Wendy Weatherby played the tune of Gloomy Winter on her 1999 album A Breath on the Cold Glass. She noted:

This lovely tune gained new popularity after being featured on the soundtrack of the film The Piano, Here it is arranged for cello quartet and one rogue note on the psaltery.

Billy Ross sang Gloomy Winter in 2000 on his Greentrax album Shore Street.

Geordie McIntyre and Alison McMorland sang Gloomy Winter’s Noo Awa on their 2010 album Where Ravens Reel. They noted:

Written by Robert Tannahill (1774-1810), the weaver-poet of Paisley, Renfreshire and set to the air Lord Balgownie’s Favourite. Tannahill was much influenced by Robert Burns (1759-96). It has been observed that, as is the case here, his love-lyrics often spend more time describing the beauties of nature than the charms of the lady. Be that as it may; its a great song…

Emily Smith sang Gloomy Winter’s Noo Awa in 2010 on the Brechin All anthology The Complete Songs of Robert Tannahill Volume II.

Robert Lawrence and Jill Greene sang Gloomy Winter’s Noo Awa’ on their 2015 album Legends and Laments. They noted:

Tannahill composed the lyrics in 1808 at the request of an acquaintance who wanted words to sing to a popular Scottish tune. A song of farewell to winter, as nature begins to come alive and two lovers enjoy the beauty of early springtime.

Jim and Susie Malcolm sang Gloomy Winter on their 2019 CD The Berries.


Jim and Susie Malcolm sing Gloomy Winter

Gloomy winter’s noo awa’
Saft the westlin’ breezes blaw;
Amang the birks o Stanley shaw
The mavis sings fu’ cheery O.
Sweet the crawflower’s early bell
Decks Gleniffer’s dewy dell
Bloomin’ like thy bonny sel’
My young, my artless dearie O.
Come, my lassie, let us stray
O’er Gleniffer’s sunny brae,
Blythely spend the gowden day
‘Midst joys that never weary O.

Tow’ring o’er the Newton woods
Laverocks fan the snaw-white clouds
Siller saughs wi’ downy buds
Adorn the banks sae briery O.
Round the sylvan fairy nooks.
Feath’ry breckans fringe the rocks
‘Neath the brae the burnie jouks
And ilka thing is cheerie O.
Trees may bud, and birds may sing,
Flowers may bloom and verdure spring,
Joy tae me they canna’ bring
Unless wi you, my dearie O.